Exploring a new relationship with someone is both an exhilarating experience and a frightening one. Here you are opening your heart, soul and body to someone with wild abandon and love with absolutely no commitment or guarantee of any future.
There is immense possibility for creating the relationship of your dreams on the one hand, and great risk and uncertainty on the other. Somewhere, you know, without a commitment or promise, you could be abandoned or rejected and deeply hurt at any time.
There is great love as well as great fear. It is challenging to open your heart to someone so completely with no promise or certainty. The discomfort of not knowing the future that comes with the joy and exhilaration of intimate bliss can be emotionally quite unsettling. Even terrifying.
You might enjoy listening to our podcast: Dating, Amazon.com Style
The unsure mind
The unsure mind wants to comfort itself with knowing the future. It attempts to answer questions like, “Is this ‘the One’? Are we going to be together forever? Does he or she love me? Do I love them? Is this what I really want? Am I settling? Will I be happy? What about the problems we have? Will they escalate and get worse? Or improve?”
Unfortunately, trying to answer these questions too soon is a huge mistake. Too often, people rush into making relationship determinations and decisions before their time. Or they try to force their partner to decide the future of the relationship before they are ready.
This focus on trying to figure out whether to marry or split up gets in the way of allowing the relationship to organically unfold. You begin and end relationships too quickly because you can’t stand to be with the uncertainty of the questions and the corresponding fear that arises.
Relationships take time to develop
In truth, it takes time to assess whether or not you are willing to commit and spend your life with another. It takes recurrence with someone over time to know whether or not you can trust one another to work through breakdowns as they arise and to successfully take care of your mutual needs and desires.
In fact, you probably won’t have ANY breakdowns for months, because you’re too busy being madly in love, but without breakdowns, you can’t even get to test the strength of your bond. It is absolutely normal for this process to take a couple of years before you feel resolved enough in your relationship choice to commit to marriage.
So what do you do with all the emotional discomfort in the meantime? How do you deal with all of these unanswered questions and the fears that arise in the course of building relationship?
What to do?
First, make peace with the questions – both yours and theirs. They will be there awhile. Know that questions do not necessarily mean you do not want to be together or that you don’t love each other.
Expand yourself to include both the deep love you are experiencing with your new partner and the fears, concerns and questions that abound. These questions are part of the dating process.
Focus on the now as much as possible. Instead of future-thinking, focus on what is good and wonderful about your relationship, right now. Enjoy the experience you are having, not the one you imagine you will not be having later.
Be in a mood of appreciation and gratitude for the wonderful experiences you are sharing together. Speak them out loud to each other. This practice will soothe your fears. We call this “moment-by-moment relationship”. In the beginning of a relationship, really all you need to know is, “Do I want to see him one more time?” Then do that!
When you are afraid, feel, own and share your feelings. For example, saying, “I feel scared” will bring you closer whereas jumping into your head and trying to get him or her to commit too early will only drive you apart.
Ask better questions
Instead of asking future questions that instill doubt and fear, ask questions that instill joy, confidence and hope. Ask questions like, “How can I express my love more today? Where can I be more honest and transparent? How would I be if I trusted the perfect unfolding of this relationship? How would I be if I knew this was my perfect partner or a divinely inspired step towards my perfect partner?”
Most importantly, make sure to keep nourishing yourself outside the relationship, so your new partner is not your sole “watering hole.” Take bubble baths, listen to uplifting music, get together with friends, dance, exercise, meditate, get emotional support from a coach, keep working on your own personal development, etc.
Participating in activities and engaging in practices that keep you feeling good about yourself are crucial. They will help you stay centered and expand your emotional capacity to deal with the uncertainty inherent in the initial phases of courtship.
Lastly, know that your questions will get answered over time. The old adage, “time will tell” has some truth to it. Your questions will get answered in the course of you moving forward! You need only trust this fact and wait patiently. Be sure to revel in the bliss and wonder of your relationship in the meantime!
Allow love to flourish and take you where it wants to go. As much as possible, enjoy the rush that comes from the unfolding of love, and don’t rush to decide where it will all end up too quickly.
Because, if you do, you may very well prevent love from growing at all.